CANMORE – After two years away, the Canmore Folk Festival will soon be in full swing, and organizers couldn’t be happier.
“I was at a festival a few weeks ago and it is wonderful to see how happy everyone is and that connection that people have to artists,” said Sue Panning, festival director. “It will be nice to get our volunteers back together. It is like a family reunion. I am really excited about that.”
The festival was first held in 1978 and this will be its 45th incarnation. Running from July 30 to Aug. 1, artists at the festival include Bedouin Soundclash, William Prince, Jim Cuddy, and his son Sam Polley.
With the festival returning after two years away due to COVID-19, adjustments had to be made.
“We had to shift our site around a little bit because we haven’t had a festival since they put up the elk fence, so we have to shift things around,” Panning said. “For the most part, people won’t notice much of a difference from before.”
Previously, the festival attracted over 20,000 people but with COVID numbers on the rise, as well as the cost of gas, it is up in the air if the festival will reach that figure this year. If it doesn’t, it won’t be for a lack of trying.
“People are travelling to Canmore as we are noticing every weekend. On our Facebook site, we have been talking about accommodations and we have put up information about parking,” Panning said. “We are doing our best to let people know it is a busy weekend and maybe people want to come out for the day if there isn’t accommodation. We tried our best to message things as much as we could.”
A community concert will be held on July 29th from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Centennial Park, hosted by Tom Coxworth and sponsored by the Rotary Club. It will feature five local musicians who won a song contest with a song about community and getting back together.
“After two years of not having a live event and all of us going through COVID, I thought it would be a nice idea to bring the community back together,” Panning said. “We had the song contest around the idea of how important community is because we saw how good it was for communities to pull together in the tough times after the pandemic.”
Over the past few months, as other festivals returned from hiatus, Canmore Folk Festival organizers looked to see how those festivals did and what unforeseen circumstances occurred.
“We are keeping our eyes open as to what happened with other festivals and try to plan as much as we can for things,” Panning said. “There is going to be unforeseen things and we will do the best we can, but I know it is going to be a great event.”
One thing is certain though, and that is the excitement everyone feels for the return of the festival.
“We are really excited. Everyone is working away at their various areas and things are coming together really well,” Panning said. “We still have tickets available and especially day tickets. So, if you want to have a good day outing, it’s perfect you come to the festival.”
Tickets are still available and can be found at www.canmorefolkfestival.com or at 1-888-655-9090.